Showing posts from January, 2020

Dunstable Man Jailed for 7 Years

A man has been jailed for seven years following a spree of offences in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, including burgling a neighbour. Darren Mearman, 47, of Watling Gardens, Dunstable, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday (28 January) after he pleaded guilty to drug, burglary and road-related offences across the two counties. In March 2018, officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit (RPU) stopped a silver Mercedes being driven by Mearman in Railway Street, Hertford. The vehicle smelt heavily of cannabis, and as Mearman was moved into a police vehicle he was seen to discard a small plastic Kinder egg containing 25 wraps of cocaine and 15 wraps of diamorphine onto the ground. He was subsequently arrested and charged. Following this, Mearman burgled two properties in Dunstable – including one on his own road, just a day apart in February 2019. In both break-ins, at Watling Gardens and Suncote Avenue, Mearman forced entry c

All Creatures Great and Small Exhibition from 4-29 February

Kenya Comes to Dunstable this February The spirit of Africa is coming to Ashton Square, Dunstable this February, when The Workhouse Gallery hosts its latest exhibition ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. In addition to the work of local Artists, this exhibition will also feature the striking wildlife paintings of young, upcoming Kenyan Artist, Eric Mathenge. Eric’s artistic talent was first recognised by Ivinghoe Aston based businessman, Clive Thomas, when he visited the village in the Masai Mara where Eric was at school. Not a gifted academic student, Eric was struggling with his education, but seeing his strong creative abilities, Clive stepped in to provide support; encouragement and mentoring to the budding Artist. ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ will be Eric’s debut in Bedfordshire and The Workhouse is proud to be hosting his vibrant work. His interpretation of East African animals promises to add a breath of Kenyan sunshine and colour to our typically grey British

CBC's Fees for Adult Social Care: Have Your Say on Proposed Changes to Funding

Our Unitary Authority, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC), is reviewing how they charge for adult social care. You are invited to have your say on these proposals. Below, we highlight the main points. Means testing. Some people don’t pay anything, and CBC pick up all of the cost; some people pay a contribution and some people pay for all of their care and these people are known as self-funders. The demand for adult social care is increasing along with the cost of providing these services. National principles mean that the charging policy has to be financially sustainable for the council in the long-term. Fees and Charges CBC are proposing some changes to the fees and charges for adult social care. For people who pay for all their own care who choose to ask CBC to continue to manage these arrangements on their behalf. A fee is proposed for this service at £174 per annum to cover administration costs. For people who choose to pay for their care and support themselves, one

Sponsored Schemes Will Help Curb Violence & Expolitation

Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, and the specialist new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) that the Home Office has funded her to create, are distributing £400,000 to local projects to tackle the problem of young people’s involvement in gang, gun and knife crime. The funding marks a flagship intervention by the VERU, an initiative drawing together the police, health, local authorities, youth offending services and grassroots groups from across the county. The funded projects include those which will work with schools and alternative education to deliver anti-knife crime messages including projects focussing on parents, girls at risk of being drawn into gang activity and young people with learning disabilities, who may be more easily exploited, as well as schemes offering diversionary activities such as music, sport and media production. “I’m delighted that these first grants from the VERU genuinely represent the voices of our communities and what they themsel

Cheering Volunteering Returns for its Sixth Year

Following the success of previous events, Cheering Volunteering returns for its sixth year. The Central Bedfordshire Cheering Volunteering event awards and celebration evening grows each year. The event is organised by Central Bedfordshire Council, working in partnership with the Volunteer Centres as part of Central Bedfordshire Together, to say thank you to those who give their time to help others. Sponsored by Ringway Jacobs, Pro Logis, Grand Union Housing, Jeakins Weir and Beds Fire and Rescue, the Grove Theatre will again host the awards evening on Thursday, 4 June. Last time, seven awards were presented on the night, with winners ranging from a volunteer with St John’s Hospice, to a couple who provide Christmas lunches every year for people in their Ampthill community. One of last year’s winners Kayleigh Dalton, a Domestic Abuse Victim Support Advisor, who won in the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ category said: “When I was nominated for a Cheering Volunteering award, I

Flu Virus — Carers Should have the Flu Jab

Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are highlighting the important work done by carers and the help available to them.  Across Bedfordshire, there are 40,000 carers providing unpaid support to family and friends who could not manage without their help. They make a huge contribution to improving the lives of older, disabled and chronically ill people, many of whom would otherwise need residential care. Caring for a family member or close friend can be very rewarding. But the additional responsibility this involves can, over a period of time, also become physically and emotionally challenging. Therefore all carers should take steps to maintain their own health and well-being and be aware of the support on offer. It is important for carers to notify their GP that they have caring responsibilities. Not only does this inform the doctor of the extra pressure they could be under, but the GP can also inform the appropriate services to ensure care for the pe

'84p Extra a Month' for Police CT Rise.

Despite the latest police funding settlement from the Government, dubbed by Home Secretary Priti Patel as the ‘biggest funding boost in a decade’, Bedfordshire 's Police and Crime Commissioner is still going to ask for an extra 84p a month in Council Tax from a Band D home. The 2020/21 settlement announcement set out an additional £1.1billion of funding to all forces provided that Police and Crime Commissioners take full advantage of raising the police precept element of council tax by £10 for a Band D home. The aim is to provide 20,000 new officers nationally and was announced in Parliament this week. For Bedfordshire, the new deal could see an increase of around £9million to its budget for 2020/21 – to £121.9m. Have Your Say Please complete this survey prior to the 31st January 2020: Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway said: “Today’s funding settlement is welcome but still requires me to raise

Checks Urged in Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (20 to 26 January 2020) and as part of the week Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) are encouraging all eligible people to have a cervical screening (smear test). Cllr Tracey Stock, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities, said: “Cervical screening is one of the best ways to protect yourself from cervical cancer.  Cervical cancer is largely preventable due to early detection through a simple smear test and the HPV vaccine we now offer young people. A smear test saves around 5,000 lives each year in the UK A smear test can identify if the high-risk HPV virus is present and any cell changes early before cancer develops. 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical screening. “Unfortunately, those attending their cervical screening has dropped significantly over the last 20 years. It’s important you don’t miss appointments as they need to be done every three to

Police Feedback on How Safe You Feel

Bedfordshire Police are thanking everyone who took part in their survey and told them your thoughts about how safe you feel in Bedfordshire. 1,805 people responded, with more than half of you saying you felt safe. There were certain areas highlighted where people say they don't feel particularly safe, but  police would like to assure you they are working hard to tackle the issues mentioned, such as burglary and drug and knife crime using a partnership approach in key towns across the county. The Police and Crime Commissioner has set up a new Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU), through a Home Office grant, which brings together organisations including police, local authorities, health, the county’s two youth offending services, community leaders and other key partners to disrupt and prevent serious violence, especially among young people. The VERU aims to build a network of key people, with grant-funded involvement from communities themselves, to tackle the ro

Anglian Water to Trial Fibre-Optic Cables to Find Leaky Water Pipes

Anglian Water engineers are beginning a trial using fibre optic cables to detect leaks in their water pipe network. The company has enough water pipe to reach Australia and back again. It is already reporting half as much leakage per kilometre of pipeline as any other water company in the UK. In partnership with Kier, a leading provider of construction and infrastructure services, and the innovative CRALEY Group, the new trial is the next addition to Anglian’s pedigree of innovation in next generation leakage engineering. CRALEY Group’s iSMTM technology is being trialled on a Kier designed model section of pipework on an Anglian Water site in Lincolnshire. This model will allow engineers to test the endurance and capability of the fibre optics and allow them to hone the technical process of installing and removing the fibre optics from the pipeline. Once the fibre optic sensor cable is fed into water pipes, the iSMTM technology has the potential to continually monitor the pi

Mandatory CCTV for Taxis? Have Your Say

Central Bedfordshire Council is consulting on installing CCTV cameras in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles (taxis) to help provide the highest standards of public safety for those driving and using licensed vehicles. Under the council’s proposal CCTV would be installed in approximately 180 vehicles as part of a pilot with a view to making CCTV mandatory in all licensed vehicles from April 2021*. The cameras would be a source of evidence in the case of disputes between drivers and passengers. They also have the potential to discourage anti-social behaviour or crime committed by both drivers and passengers. As with any recording of the public there are naturally some concerns around privacy. The council has proposed some measures that seek to achieve the right balance between safety and privacy in the proposal. For example, the cameras would be able to view outside the front of the vehicle and inside, including the faces of both the passenger and the driver. However,

Beds, Cambs, Herts: Road Deaths and Serious Injuries top 1,100

Over 1,100 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire between November 2018 and November 2019. This equates to almost 20 serious injuries and at least one death every week. Between November 2018 and November 2019 in Bedfordshire there were 272 serious injuries on the counties roads, and 20 fatal incidents. The shocking figures have been released by police at the start of this month’s speed campaign to remind motorists that speeding devastates lives. Chief Inspector Jon Roche, Head of Roads Policing for the three forces, said: “Far too many lives are tragically lost or changed forever as a result of speeding on our counties’ roads. It’s the reason we are so passionate about preventing avoidable collisions. “The faster you drive, the less time you have to react and any mistake by you or another is amplified by that speed. Speed limits are in place for a reason. Never exceed the limit for the road you’re on and please

BFRS: Seeking Your Opinions on its Council Tax Funding

The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) has launched a consultation on its proposals for its Service delivery and the Budget and Council Tax requirements for 2020/21. BFRS is engaging with the local community to seek your views on its priorities and its proposal to increase contributions to its funding from council tax. The closing date is the 31 January 2020. Feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the BFRC’s future plans and budgets. You can take part in the consultation by going to You can receive future consultations directly in your inbox by registering for the free messaging system Beds Fire Alert. In addition to consultations they use alert to keep residents informed of their latest safety campaigns, events and job opportunities. When you register you can also opt to receive messages from Bedfordshire Police, Action Fraud and Neighbourhood Watch. Register for free at . Topics:  Bedfordshire Fire and

Beds Alert: Courier Fraud

Bedfordshire Police is supporting a national campaign targeting courier fraud and is encouraging residents to speak to their elderly friends and family about spotting the signs of impersonation fraud. On Monday (13 January) a national campaign, co-ordinated by the City of London Police, will focus on educating potential victims on the different ways criminals con vulnerable and elderly people out of their money. Courier fraud often starts with a cold call where the fraudster claims to be a police officer or a bank official. The fraudsters will say there’s an issue with the victim’s bank account or request their assistance with an ongoing bank or police investigation. The ultimate aim of this call is to trick the victim into handing over money or bank details. Common techniques used by the fraudsters include telling the victim to withdraw large sums of cash, purchase an expensive item, or provide their bank cards/details. In all cases, a ‘courier’ will then come

Australia On Fire

A leading ecologist estimates that a  billion animals and birds  have been killed by the fires. One billion. It’s carnage out there. A wildlife holocaust. Read on ... What have we done? Source: If you have news for Dunstable, please send it in

Woman on mobility scooter robbed in Dunstable

Woman on mobility scooter robbed in Dunstable Bedfordshire Police are appealing for help to find two offenders who robbed a woman on a mobility scooter in Dunstable on Saturday 4 January. At around 2.15pm, the victim was travelling through Vernon Place, when she stopped between ASDA and The Quadrant to answer her mobile phone. She was approached from behind by two men who pulled her from the mobility scooter, pinned her to the ground and robbed her of £1,000. The offenders are described as black men. The first man was 5 ft 6 inches, skinny, with fuzzy, dyed ginger hair. He had a large scar on the left side of his face under his eye. He was wearing an African style multi-coloured top with a cannabis leaf design on the front, and grey cargo shorts. The other was described as medium build, 5 ft 6 inches with fuzzy, black hair. He was wearing a ripped blue shirt and scruffy blue jeans. Detective Constable Mandy Godfree, investigating, said: “This was a particularly n

Dunstable Former Library Site To Be Developed for Social Housing

This report by Cllr John Gurney, Independent  Dunstable Town Councillor  for Icknield Ward. To contact John: email SOCIAL HOUSING TO BE BUILT ON FORMER LIBRARY SITE It was announced at the Dunstable Joint Committee on Thursday 9 January there will be new social housing, in the form of up to 44 apartments, built on the site of the former library at Vernon Place. Nick Costin, representing HRA Housing Projects told the public meeting held at Watling House, Dunstable (the former South Beds District Council building), that Dunstable has the highest need for housing for the whole of Central Bedfordshire. He confirmed two sites have been chosen in Dunstable Town Centre to provide social housing. Carole Hegley, CBC Councillor for Central Ward and Chairperson of the Joint Committee, which comprises 5 Dunstable CBC, and 5 Dunstable Town Councillors, said that money from renting the housing that Central Bedfordshire Council owns will make a consid

Australia Burning - Where to Donate

picture widely shared on Twitter Australia is burning! An area twice the size of Wales has been destroyed. What can we do? First, be aware of bogus scam appeals. Some proper places to donate are: Red Cross Australia Salvation Army Australia - Rural Fire Brigades - RSPCA New South Wales - More images RT'd on my Twitter feed. Please get sharing! If this doesn't break your heart nothing will. #AustraliaBurning #firecrisis — Amy Norman (@Amy_C_Norman) January 3, 2020 Source: If you have news for Dunstable, please send it in

Have your say on council plans for spending, efficiencies and council tax

Central Bedfordshire residents are urged to have their say on their council's budget plans for 2020/2021, and this includes proposals for spending, efficiencies and council tax. The council is proposing to invest £142million next year on a range of building and infrastructure initiatives . This includes road maintenance, new school places, new care homes and new integrated health and care hubs. Providing social care and health services in one building is thought to be more convenient for residents. The council is planning to spend £212m on services . This includes services like recycling and waste collection, public transport, leisure, libraries as well as vital services to protect and support vulnerable children and adults. Currently, around two-thirds of the council’s budget is spent on services for children and vulnerable adults . As demand for these services is rising it puts real pressure on the budget.   Despite these budgetary challenges, the council
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